"Delivered in a crisp translation, this ambitious book’s clarifying distance from the lasting accomplishments of apparatus theory goes far toward erasing any trace of oxymoron in its title. And in the emphasis of its subtitle — with the camera variously recognized as severed from the spaces it preserves only by rearticulating — cinema’s narrative inside emerges as the material effect of its outside: not just technically but culturally. Synthesized as never before across a deep field of previous theorization, the conditioning surround of the screen image, in politics as well as production, is studied rigorously by Lie, and often brilliantly, from the inside out — in powerful extrapolations earned across nimble readings of celluloid and digital cinematography from rear projection in Marnie to pixel tessellations in Miami Vice." - Garrett Stewart, author of "Cinemachines: An Essay on Media and Method" (2020)
"Lie's book Towards a Political Aesthetics of Cinema fulfills the title's promise by re-reading and re-viewing theories and films to engender indeed a political aesthetics. Avoiding the sheer application of political theories on cinema Lie challenges some of the paradigms of modern film theory for their relevance for an aesthetic of cinema. In Lie's powerful understanding of cinema the off screen space in cinematic shots becomes a complex membrane between world and fiction. Intense shot analyses are the bearers of the argument that political aesthetics of cinema are based in the ways films are framing and deframing the world." - Gertrud Koch
Towards a Political Aesthetics of Cinema: The Outside of Film is a contribution to an aesthetics of cinema rooted in Marxist theory. Rather than focusing on the role that certain films, or the cinema as an institution, might play in political consciousness, the book asks a different question: how can the subject of politics in film be thought? This problem is presented in a systematic-theoretical rather than historical manner. The main aim of this book is a retrospective rehabilitation of the psychoanalytical concept of "suture," whose political core is progressively revealed. In a second step, this rereading of "suture"-theory is mediated with the Marxist aesthetics of Fredric Jameson. From the perspective of this reconfigured aesthetics of negativity, films by Hitchcock, Antonioni, Haneke and Kubrick are analyzed as articulations of a political unconscious.
Sulgi Lie teaches in the Division of Film Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has co-edited a German anthology of Jacques Rancière’s film writings and has recently completed a book on comedy and critical theory with the title Gehend kommen. Adornos Slapstick (Come Walking: Adorno’s Slap stick) to be published in early 2021 by Vorwerk 8 press.